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So last time I said I would be watching this episode until a certain point than stopping until GRRM's next book came out, as I was pretty worried about things being revealed in the show that would spoil details in the unpublished books for me.  And that's exactly what I did ...but then a few friends on Facebook convinced me that if I continued watching the rest of the episode, I would not be spoiled in the books.  So with fingers crossed, I watched the entire episode last night ...and all is well in Westeros.  I will admit that I jumped the gun on bailing on the show, though I felt perfectly justified in doing so after that scene with the Others.  So going forward, my policy will be thus: if I'm worried about spoilers in a given episode, I won't watch the episode and then wait for my Internet friends to report back to me as to whether it's safe for me to watch.

Of course, after seeing the trailer for next week's episode, my concerns remain that I won't be able to watch the show for much longer.  I've given up on predicting how episodes will end, but it's abundantly clear that the next episode will end with Petyr pushing Lysa out the Moon Door.  How can it not based on the clips we've seen, not to mention the next episode being called "Mockingbird."  Unless they pad out Sansa's story as they did with Bran's, they'll have almost caught up with her story in the books.  There is nothing left in book three, she only has a few chapters in book four, and none in book five.  At this point I'm hoping that after the next episode she doesn't appear again until next season, just to stretch out her story.  But these are cares for another day.  Right now I'm just happy that I can keep watching the show.  Honestly, I feel like I've received an early birthday present, as I was bit grumpy all last week at the thought of no more Game of Thrones episodes for the foreseeable future.  But now it's back, and even though I shred it and complain constantly about all the missteps, I still really love this show.  And with that said, it's time to get back to shredding and complaining about the missteps.

To be honest, there was very little to complain about with this episode.  It was one of the better ones this season.  In the opening credits, we got to see Braavos on the map, and that had to be one of better city sequences to date, right up there with Pyke, the Twins, and Winterfell (if not better).  In terms of new characters, we got our first new significant one in a while (at least by GoT's standards) in Hizdahr zo Loraq.  They portrayed him as a real smooth talker in this one, constantly adjusting his requests on the fly without seeming to until Dany relented enough that he could take down his father from crucifixion and give him his burial rites, when a moment earlier he had requested that all the masters be taken down.

In the Stannis/Davos scene, them visiting Braavos like that was entirely made up.  In the fifth book the Iron Bank sends an envoy to Stannis after they decide to back him, this because of Cersei's arrogant refusal to repay the Bank in the previous book.  So they've rejiggered things some here, including the seeming return of Salladhor Saan, as it plays out far differently in book five.  Of course, I wouldn't be surprised is Salladhor does rejoin the action in one of the unpublished books, and they skipped ahead here.  If so, I can live with this for now.  As to the actual scene where Davos convinces the Bank ...meh.  They were a little too easily convinced to back Stannis as far as I'm concerned, but for the HBO version there wasn't much choice.  If Davos failed here, this version of Stannis would clearly have him executed.  I guess this version makes more sense for the HBO version, but the execution wasn't nearly as skillful.  In the plus column, I liked that moment when we finally got to Davos's missing fingers, which was pretty damn cool.

I also have a question if anyone can answer it: when Salladhor Saan is telling that joke, the two women interrupt him and say the punchline together.  Only I couldn't understand what they're saying.  Little help?

The only thing I can really poke at in this episode is how easy it was for Yara and company to break into the Dreadfort.  Roose Bolton is an incredibly cautious man and would surely have better defenses set up in his home (speaking of which, where the hell was Roose during that break in?)  But I don't think it's any coincidence at all that so many of the logic flaws creep in where they deviate from the books, creating new sub-plots.  I pretty much ripped the whole Bran captured by the wildlings sub-plot to the smithereens, and this was also something that was completely made up.  But this aside, the scene was fine.  And while I was worried it was the battle that happens in the as-of-yet-unpublished book six, it turns out it was just some filler to create a little more meat to Theon and Yara's stories.  I actually appreciated the subsequent scene with Theon far more, as they show exactly how broken of a person he is when he's taking that bath.  As to the castle they need him to take, they're clearly referencing Moat Cailin, which Roose told Ramsay to retake a few episodes back.  Theon and Ramsay's adventure at Moat Cailin is right out of book five, so I'd imagine a few episodes will pass while they make the journey south, and then we'll see them at Moat Cailin.

Meanwhile, we have to assume that Yara is now back on her way to the Iron Isles.  At this point Balon Greyjoy is still alive, but that can't last much longer.  And once Balon dies, the Victarrion/Euron plot line comes into play, though I'm starting to suspect they won't be introducing these elements until next year, but probably dropping the names of both a few times before then.  At this point, I'm still wondering if they might cut Aeron Greyjoy out of the HBO series.  He hasn't done anything critical in the books to this point, though this can certainly change in the final two.

As to the Tyrion scene, what is there is to say beyond the fact that it was great?  Simply fantastic superlative acting by Peter Dinklage, and I suspect the Emmy buzz for him this year will once again be on the rise.  Whatever deviations there were from the book were minor enough that they're not even worth going into.  I can't wait for that fight between Oberyn and the Mountain, as it's one of my favorite scenes in the whole series.  Judging by the episode titles though, we shouldn't expect this to happen until episode eight.

The final thing that is worth mentioning is that there were no Starks in this episode at all, not even Jon Snow, a bastard Stark.  I can't be sure, but this might have been the first episode in the HBO series without a single appearance by any of the Starks.  If so, this would mark one of those mini-milestones in the series.  Ned Stark was the original anchor in the series, and after his death all his family took on a heightened importance.  So for none of them to appear in a whole episode demonstrates that HBO truly understands this is an ensemble show, and no one or no one family is required to appear in each and every episode.  I'll tear these episodes down where warranted, but I'll also pat them on the back where it's warranted.  In this case, it's a good job.  

More next week ...but I have to admit it's getting harder and harder to pick up on the deviations from the books.  I've read the first three four times, the fourth book three times. A Dance with Dragons?  I've only read it twice.  So while it may be the most recent book, I haven't retained as much information from this one as the others, and I'm not about to reread it before this season wraps up--too much else on my plate.  But assuming I make it through the rest of this season without having to abandon the show for fear of spoilers, I may need to do another reread before season five.  But this is also a care for another day.

More next week, to which I say woo hoo!


fixnwrtr wrote:
May. 15th, 2014 01:46 pm (UTC)
The pirate asked for his brown pants.
douglascohen wrote:
May. 15th, 2014 04:13 pm (UTC)
Yeah, someone on Facebook passed this along. Thanks!


Douglas Cohen

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